SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Today, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed the compromise State Government, Elections, and Veterans budget following a bipartisan agreement with the Senate. In addition to funding Minnesota’s constitutional offices, boards, and internal service agencies, the budget protects Minnesota’s tradition of voter participation and local election administration.
“The last year has seen our democracy tested in unimaginable ways,” said Rep. Emma Greenman (DFL – Minneapolis), who helped craft the bipartisan budget as a member of the State Government, Elections, and Veterans Conference Committee. “After conducting a successful election during a global pandemic, we witnessed attempts to overturn the results that culminated in a violent attack on our nation’s Capitol. Now we’re seeing a wave of voter suppression laws in states across the country.
“In Minnesota, House DFLers worked to defeat Senate Republican efforts to restrict the vote with voter ID and provisional balloting laws. We fought to expand the right to vote and build a strong, inclusive democracy centered on the voices of Minnesotans. While this work defends Minnesota’s proud traditions of same-day voter registration and voter participation, we have more work to do to defend and strengthen our democracy.”
The State Government, Elections, and Veterans budget solidifies and strengthens the absentee voting process. It establishes new guidelines to govern drop boxes in which absentee ballots can be deposited and delivers resources local election officials need to administer elections, invest in equipment, and further strengthen absentee voting.
House DFLers successfully fought to exclude voter ID and provisional balloting provisions from the compromise budget. Senate Republicans sought to enact Voter ID laws even though Minnesota voters rejected them in 2012. If enacted, voter ID laws would restrict Minnesotans’ freedom to vote, with a disproportionate impact on people of color, Indigenous people, immigrants, seniors, and young voters. House DFLers also defended Minnesota’s tradition of same-day registration, blocking Republican efforts to reduce voting access by enacting provisional balloting.
Despite escalating attempts to undermine free and fair elections, Senate Republicans in Minnesota blocked several steps that would strengthen our democracy and ensure all eligible Minnesotans have the tools to participate. When the House passed its State Government, Elections and Veterans budget, it included policies that would restore the freedom to vote to Minnesotans on probation or parole, establish automatic voter registration, prohibit intimidating voters or election officials, and ensure state and local election officials have access to federal funds for election infrastructure and security. These important provisions weren’t included in the final budget due to opposition from Senate Republicans.